U.S. flag

An official website of the United States government, Department of Justice.

NCJRS Virtual Library

The Virtual Library houses over 235,000 criminal justice resources, including all known OJP works.
Click here to search the NCJRS Virtual Library

Improving the Civil-Criminal Interface for Victims of Domestic Violence

NCJ Number
The Howard Journal of Criminal Justice Volume: 46 Issue: 4 Dated: September 2007 Pages: 356-371
Amanda L. Robinson
Date Published
September 2007
16 pages
This exploratory study examined the interface between the civil and criminal courts in domestic-violence cases in Cardiff, England, using information from domestic-violence victims, victim advocates, and attorneys.
There was evidence that civil remedies, such as protection orders designed to keep domestic-violence perpetrators away from their victims, did help victims to feel safer and deter revictimization; however, without the power and response of arrest for violations of these civil orders, they were viewed as ineffective. The feasibility of having a victim and perpetrator continue to occupy the same housing was questioned by the respondents in this study. The study also found that because legal aid for civil action is not available while a criminal case is underway, economically disadvantaged victims are more vulnerable to revictimization and may become involved in a longer legal ordeal compared with affluent victims. It would help if all civil injunctions related to domestic-violence allegations were cost-free. Access to civil justice should depend on a person's need for protection rather than their income level. The majority of respondents favored a combined civil/criminal court for domestic-violence cases, which would prevent the time-consuming duplication required in having two court jurisdictions hear the same or similar facts. Such a court would also facilitate interagency cooperation in serving domestic-violence victims. This study relied on data obtained from interviews and open-ended surveys that involved nine victims of domestic violence; three women’s safety unit (WSU) staff who supported victims with civil/criminal cases; and five local attorneys who participated in the WSU program. 15 notes and 20 references